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Monday, November 12, 2012

Barren chickens

On Saturday, we got just one egg.  From 136 hens (and 5 roosters who don't contribute and therefore don't count).  ONE EGG!

This is just a few weeks after the farm record 51 eggs in one day.

We're stumped.  

We do acknowledge that the hens from last year (Black Australorps) are starting to molt.  And boy, are they ugly looking!  Molting is when a chicken sheds its feathers in stages and regrows new feathers.  When a hen molts, she stops laying eggs.

But we've got almost 100 pullets who should be pumping out eggs like crazy.  

Nothing.

Our thought is they are still holding the move against us.  We've bedded down the nest boxes.  They have plenty of calcium, feed, and water.

Hmmm, maybe I should get rid of those worthless roosters and see if that helps.  Even if it doesn't, they'll still be tasty in my stew pot!

So, if anyone has any suggestions or ideas on how to get hens to kick it into gear, I'd love to hear them!

2 comments:

  1. What breed of pullet? If they're a standard breed, they'll start laying later than the hybrids do - more like 22-24 weeks. They couldn't be laying in a secret corner somewhere? I would say it's probably the move though.

    My Red Sussex Cross pullets are at 23 weeks and giving me 2 eggs from 55 birds. I'm putting it down to the dark days we've been having (very low cloud cover, misty rain most days). My Red Rock Cross old hens (supposed to be in the freezer already, but obviously aren't yet) are moulting like crazy too - and giving me a whopping 6 eggs from 45 hens.

    I don't know how you feel about it, but lots of people use lights in the hen house to keep production up in the winter. If your birds are out in portable shelters, that won't work anyway, plus at a lower latitude than me you should be getting more daylight still (though you might be colder). I'm not a fan of the idea, personally - I figure their biorhythms are set so their bodies can get a break every so often - but it's frustrating, because now is about when customers really want eggs, and now is when production goes down sharply.

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  2. We have them in our hoophouse so there is lots of sunlight. We haven't ever used supplemental heat or light so I'm not willing to start now. We have Barred Rocks, Silver Laced Wyendottes and Ameracaunas. They were laying before we left so I'm thinking it's the move. We'll see....
    It's good to know we're not the only ones!

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